The Presidential Palace, as it was once known, has changed a great deal over time with each new President or first lady making changes. Not many people realize the White House was not originally white. It was restored and painted that color after the British gutted the building in the War of 1812.
Concerns for the safety of the President make the White House off-limits to the public these days unless you organize a group tour. Instead visitors can browse exhibits , watch historic re-enactments and take a video tour at the visitors Center (202-208-1631).